The phrase “wellness teas” seems to have a variety of meanings, depending on context and who you ask. In some instances it is broadly applied and in other cases it is more specific, defining certain teas (or blends).

Wellness tea, or describing a tea as “supporting wellness,” originated as an alternative to the more-intuitive phrase “healthy tea.” Why, you might ask? For two reasons.

First, because, despite it’s many well-known and well-documented health benefits, Camellia sinensis tea has not merited a (good) US FDA-approved qualified health claim.

To date, the only FDA-approved health claim that can be made for tea, must read as follows:

“Green tea may reduce the risk of breast or prostate cancer. FDA does not agree that green tea may reduce the risk because there is very little scientific evidence for the claim.”

(That is hardly a strong endorsement, or something most companies want to put on their packaging and promotion. In fact, a judge later ruled that that language did not serve the marketplace, was a violation of 1st Amendment rights, and did not correctly represent the FDA’s intent. Source)

Second, to use the term “healthy” or “healthy tea” is incredibly vague. And without context or establishment of standards, how does one define “healthy”? To put it another way, vegans would argue their diet is ‘healthy,’ while fans of low-carb would argue their diet is equally ‘healthy.’ “Healthy” is just too generic.

While the term “wellness” or “wellness teas” does not provide any more context or definition than healthy, at least it reduces the likelihood of FDA scrutiny.

Moving on to more narrow use-cases of the phrase “wellness tea,” we find the phrase applied to blends of tea and herbs. A brand called Lifestyle Awareness has a product called “White Tea Wellness” which contains white tea, rooibos, and other herbs. Traditional Medicinals, historically known for their caffeine-free herbal blends, has developed a new line of green tea + herbs, touting it as “green tea with the extra wellness benefits of herbs.”

Wellness teas in the marketplace

This more focused use of the term likely developed because the blending of tea and herbs can’t rightfully be called a tea nor a tisane. The steeping of herbs should be called an infusion (or tisane), while steeped Camellia sinensis tea is still called tea. Therefore, companies needed a way to clearly convey this product is neither just tea nor just herbs, and apparently settled on the term “wellness tea” to emphasize that blend.

Finally, the narrowest definition of the term “wellness tea” is, arguably, one I developed. Adding on to the above use of the term, wellness tea blends tea with herbs but should also be health-promoting, with a functional purpose targeting specific actions, benefits, or uses.

Wellness teas target specific health-promoting uses by blending tea with herbs for their functional benefits.

Let’s break this down. With both of the brands mentioned above, we find tea blended with herbs, with only a hint of the health-promotion side of their beverage. This last definition adds another layer and says, now what action in the body, what result, what situation, scenario, or application are you targeting with your blend? Who should drink it? For what reason? And what benefit should the consumer hope to get as a result of drinking this wellness tea?

Check out our store to see examples of wellness tea blends with targeted benefits.

These are the three main ways I’ve seen the phrase “wellness tea” used. But I’m curious, what does the term “wellness tea” mean to you?

Leave a comment below, and let us know what you think about “wellness teas,” if you love or hate the phrase and why.